Postdoc position: “Spatial and temporal patterns of European parasite biodiversity”

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 03 Jan 2024

25 Nov 2023
Job Information

Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)
Research Field

Researcher Profile

Recognised Researcher (R2)

Application Deadline

3 Jan 2024 - 22:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description


The Department of COS studies integral coastal ecosystems and their populations of fish, birds, and other marine animals in the North and Wadden Seas as well as on a global scale. The department focusses on key physical, chemical and biological processes that determine the productivity and the ecological functioning of coastal areas. The coastal system is studied as a unity by considering the interrelations between the key compartments of the ecosystem (water, sediment, microalgae, macrozoobenthos, parasites, fish and birds). The welcoming atmosphere at NIOZ will provide ample opportunity for collaborations.



Parasites are typecast as biological villains due to their threats to human health and wildlife conservation, despite most metazoan parasites having no zoonotic potential, and constituting an overwhelming proportion of current biodiversity. Unsurprisingly, parasites remain the most neglected components of biodiversity monitoring and management strategies, and completely absent from conservation discussions. The IMPACT project (Integrated Monitoring of PArasites in Changing EnvironmenTs), funded by the EU Biodiversa+ programme, will provide the foundation to break down key barriers to parasites in transnational biodiversity and ecosystem change monitoring. The IMPACT project will examine the multiple facets of parasitic helminth diversity (taxonomic, functional, phylogenetic and genetic) in European fish. It will explore existing and develop new European fish parasite diversity datasets, test novel molecular methods for parasite diversity monitoring, and elucidate the role of parasites in environmental governance to address the overall goal of providing evidence-based knowledge to support the integration of parasites into biodiversity monitoring directives and environmental decision making.

The advertised Postdoc position is one of several PhD and postdoc positions in the project. The multidisciplinary consortium of the project includes scientists from nine European research institutions across seven countries (Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland) with expertise in parasite ecology & taxonomy, biogeography, macroecology, molecular ecology, aquatic biodiversity monitoring and social anthropology. IMPACT will be coordinated by Rachel Paterson of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), supported by Isabel Blasco-Costa of the Natural History Museum of Geneva.



In this Postdoc position you will investigate the spatial-temporal status and long-term trends of European fish parasite biodiversity along four major lines: a) You will assess the known European fish parasite diversity and identify knowledge gaps based on existing databases to inform future monitoring strategies. You will quantify the known diversity of the fish parasites in Europe and predict the number of fish parasite species yet to be described, in addition to identifying diversity hotspots and regional knowledge gaps. b) You will establish a European fish parasite community database and determine correlates of parasite community diversity. To provide insights into the parasite diversity to be expected at the level of local fish populations, where biodiversity monitoring is conducted, and to understand ecological and environmental correlates of the observed patterns, you will compile a new parasite component community database. For this, you will extract data from published literature, stakeholder reports (e.g. veterinary and fisheries institutes), and unpublished datasets from project partners. c) You will assess long-term trends in European fish parasite diversity and identify possible links to global change drivers, by investigating existing long-term parasite time series of project partners and re-sampled parasite communities at locations that have been sampled in the past. d) You will develop Red List Assessments for Helminth Parasites of European Fish. Effective parasite biodiversity conservation action requires parasite representation in the IUCN Red List (RL). You will take the first step towards the inclusion of parasites in RLs by critically evaluating the national-level extinction risk for a pilot group of parasite species across taxonomic groups from Germany, Ireland, Norway, Spain and Switzerland (excluding zoonotic, invasive and highly pathogenic parasite species).

The Postdoc candidate will be directly supervised by Prof. Dr. David Thieltges (NIOZ Texel), Dr. Rachel Paterson (NINA, Norway) and Prof. Dr. Juan Antonio Balbuena (University of Valencia, Spain). Within the project, the Postdoc will collaborate with other PhD candidates, Postdocs and PIs working on the IMPACT project. The position will be based at NIOZ on Texel, temporary secondments to supervisors in Spain and Norway will be possible.

Specific Requirements


We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a PhD in biology, ecology, environmental science, numerical ecology, biogeography, macroecology, conservation or a related discipline, and with an affinity for analysing large datasets. Good quantitative analysis skills are a prerequisite, a background in parasite and disease ecology is a plus but definitively not a must. Our ideal candidate should be capable of planning and organizing their own work independently, and meet deadlines imposed by the project. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the project, we are looking for a candidate who is open and communicative to facilitate interactions with other project members. Excellent English oral and writing skills are essential.

Due to funding rules, the 3 years position is expected to start 1st of March 2023. Interested applicants should submit a CV, names and contact information for 3 references, and a cover letter with a summary of the applicant’s previous research and their experience with data analyses.

We want to be a transparent institute with a healthy working climate and an inclusive culture, where people from diverse backgrounds and gender bring their talents and further develop these talents. We aim for inclusive decision-making processes and expect our leadership to show visible commitment, awareness of bias, and cultural intelligence.

Additional Information


  • Employment of this full-time position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO, we offer an appointment for the total duration of 3 years.
  • Salary compliant with CAO-WVOI (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes) scale 10 or 11 depending on relevant experience.
  • The freedom to fulfil your role and space and opportunities for your personal (talent) development with the help of the NIOZ Academy.
  • 338 annualized holiday hours for a full-time 40-hour work week.
  • Pension scheme via ABP, 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.33%.
  • Telephone allowance of €15 per month, prorated for your employment.
  • 2nd class public transportation travel is reimbursed 100%.
  • Employment benefits plan to exchange a portion of your salary for days off or vice versa, or can be used to purchase a bicycle with tax benefits.
  • We offer relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Dr. David Thieltges . For additional information about the procedure, please send an e-mail to [email protected]

Closing date for this vacancy is Wednesday 3rd of January 2024.

Please note that we aim to invite suitable candidates for an interview between Wednesday 17th and Friday 19th of January 2024

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)
Den Hoorn Texel
Postal Code
1797 SZ
Landsdiep 4

Where to apply


't Horntje Texel

Landsdiep 4
Postal Code

1797 SZ


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